Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Penny Reviews Restaurants: The Coast Bar and Restaurant

When spending a little down time with my family on the Isle of Wight we found our way over to Cowes. The location itself is very well known for its yachting enthusiasts and small cafes. Being still in the Winter season, I wasn't expecting much to be open. That's when we happened upon The Coast bar and restaurant, which was full, almost to bursting! It looked like a busy lunchtime. As we entered we were greeted with the restaurant manager, he politely greeted us and directed us to an available table for two. 

The layout of the restaurant was cool, with sharp lines, comfortable chairs and with a view into the kitchen, which boasts a woodfire kitchen. What I really like in any restaurant is cleanliness, and Coast is spotless. 

The waitress handed us a menu each and asked us for a drinks order. One americano and diet coke later! The menu was small but well thought out with options for veterinarians. As we browsed the menu, the drinks were placed down and we were asked if we would like water for the table. In any restaurant that I've ever been in, I don't think I've ever been asked I would like water for the table. Its a really nice touch. Also, I would like to point out, that we were given a good amount of time to browse before the waitress came to take our order. 

I opted for a starter of 'Pan fried Scallops with a Cauliflour Puree' and for my main course, 'Venison with Rosemary carrots, Celeriac Puree and Cranberry Jus'. I took in the atmosphere and everyone was content, including the staff were amiable. It was really reassuring and comfortable, even though we were surrounded by lots of people.
My starter arrived within 10 minutes, I enjoyed every bite of it! I wish they had a main course version. The scallops were cooked perfectly, not chewy or rubbery. The addition of the pancetta really brought the dish together. The size was perfect as a starter, not to small or large. Presentation was lovely as well. 

The wait for the main course was a bit much, I think we waited about 40 minutes- (ish?), however we were always attended. When we finished the water jug, it was replenished and replaced as quickly. The staff here were so on the ball. The wait for our main course didn't arise as an issue as the staff were so attentive. 

When the main course did arrive, it was worth the wait. Beautifully presented and my venison was served pink (as it should be), it was juicy and well seasoned. The dish also had parsnip chips, which wasn't mentioned on the menu but it was a great texture against the soft texture of the meat and puree. The jus itself I felt could have been more tart, as it was a cranberry jus, but I still enjoyed it. 

Honestly, it was hard to pick out any fault with the food or service for that matter. I was so impressed with the whole experience. It was a little pricey for a lunch (£44 approx), we got what we'd paid for. If this is the quality of service and food at lunch, I would love to come here during the evening!

Overall, I would highly recommend that you make the effort to visit this restaurant, even if its for a coffee. I will definitely be coming here again!
Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 25 March 2016

Fat Friday #45 Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've finally sorted out my recipe book and finally found an old recipe I've never tried before. A cookie recipe that I found jotted down on a sticky note was hidden in the recipe book page. If its worth writing down, then its worth a try, right? It actually worked out really well. The perfect cookie, just chewy in the middle and crispy around the edge. Great to start a weekend, or ruin a diet. 

Recipe: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12-15 cookies (Found in my recipe book, not sure where it came from) 
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2g baking powder
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 335g chocolate chips (I used a mix of white, dark and milk chips)


  • Baking sheets lined with baking parchment x 2 
  • Sieve
  • Bowl x 2
  • Microwave
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Wire Rack 

1. Preheat the oven tp 325f/165c/ Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the cookie sheets. 
2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside. 
3. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until a liquid. 
4. Add both sugars to the melted butter and mix throughly. 

5. Beat in the egg, the egg yolk, vanilla extract until fluffy.
6. Mix into the dry ingredients into the batter until combined. 
7. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
8. Flour your hands a little, then roll the batter into 1 inch balls. Space them 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. 
9. Bake for 15-17 minutes in the oven or until the edges are lightly toasted. The middle should be soft but not gooey. 
10. Once you remove the baking sheets from the oven, leave the cookies to cook for a further 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. 

Happy Baking!
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Rules of Baking #1

Its been a while since I've been posting and I wanted to share some rules I go by when I fancy baking!

  • Double check you have all your ingredients
  • Before you even weigh out a single gram of flour. Read the recipe all the way to the end and then re-read.
  • Baked things are temperamental, so if you stay calm the cake/cupcake/baked thingy will turn out just fine. 
  • If something doesn't work, then don't worry. It can be made again and it should be done with  more determination then before. Don't give up, just try again.
  • If you're using molds for sugar paste then make sure that they are safe for food. 
  • No matter how badly you want to check on your cake and open that oven. DONT! Wait the correct amount of time and then open your oven to check your cake/bakey thing. 
  • Never be discouraged when a recipe looks to complex or sounds really posh. Until you try, you'll never know.
  • Gluten Free cakes can be tasty so don't be put off with making them!
  • Have loads of patience.
  • Come to terms that if you bake, you will put weight on and so will all your friends and family.
  • Bake On! Penny x
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